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More cash allocated to improving houses

PUBLISHED: 15:26 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 13 July 2010

The main affordable housing agency in north Norfolk is changing its name, and cranking up investment in home improvements.

North Norfolk Housing Trust took over 4,650 council homes two years ago this week, with a pledge to spend £33m on them over six years.

The main affordable housing agency in north Norfolk is changing its name, and cranking up investment in home improvements.

North Norfolk Housing Trust took over 4,650 council homes two years ago this week, with a pledge to spend £33m on them over six years.

As it marks its second anniversary it is transforming into the Victory Housing Trust, to avoid confusion with the district council and because its workload now also eats into Broadland and West Norfolk.

Last year it spent £6m on improvements, and next year it aims to boost that by a third to £8m.

It will mean 315 central heating upgrades, 600 new kitchens, 600 new bathrooms, double-glazed doors and windows for 100 homes, and smoke alarms and security lighting for 650 properties.

Trust chief executive John Archibald said the accelerating speed of work would enable even more improvements to be added to the end of the programme.

“We were set up to improve the housing stock and are delivering our promises - more quickly than originally planned,” he added.

The trust's identity change, taking the name of Lord Nelson's flagship, aimed to pick up on something and associated with the area. It also reflected its widening scope, beyond the council boundaries, and would hopefully reduce confusion, which saw the trust taking calls from people with waiting list and benefit inquiries who should be contacting the council.

It would also be helped when the trust moved its offices from the council car park to new offices on the former Crane Fruehauf site at North Walsham next winter.

The trust, which provides homes for 10,000 people, was also well on course with target of building 300 new homes in the first five years. So far 105 have been completed, and more funding and sites were being brought together for schemes across the district, but mainly in the main market towns.

Its annual income of £20m comprises £15m from rents and service charges, £4m from borrowing and £500,000 in grant from the housing corporation grant.

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